Lunatics Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel head to Dallas

January 18th, 2012

Dallas Morning News
By David Martindale
Jan. 18, 2012

Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel are worried.

Their book tour for Lunatics brings them to the Dallas Museum of Art on Saturday.

The museum is a classy joint, and their sometimes-scatological novel isn’t exactly high-brow humor.

“We can’t actually read anything from this book in a museum,” Barry says.

“They’re not even going to let this book into the museum,” Zweibel adds.

But Barry and Zweibel are sure they’ll figure out some way to keep the sellout crowd entertained.

“Maybe we’ll open with an aria,” Zweibel says.

Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist. Zweibel was one of the writers for Saturday Night Live during its golden age of the 1970s. Lunatics (Putnam, $25.95) is the first book they’ve written as a team.

The book chronicles the misadventures of mild-mannered Philip Horkman and foul-mouthed Jeffrey Peckerman. The two get into an argument during a kids’ soccer game, and as their feud escalates, a series of poor decisions and slapstick misunderstandings turns them into international terrorists.

When Barry and Zweibel talked by phone from New York, they claimed to be shirtless.

How do you know each other?

Barry: We met at the Mark Twain Comedy Awards about five years ago. Steve Martin won the award and we were both involved in the show. You know how, when two people meet, they just hit it off right away?

Zweibel: That wasn’t us at all.

The plot of Lunatics unfolds in alternating chapters, one from Horkman’s point of view, the next from Peckerman’s. It’s easy to imagine the two of you trading off, essentially challenging each other to keep the story moving and to make it crazier. Is that how it worked?

Barry: That is exactly correct. You wrote your chapter and sent off what you did and let the other guy deal with it. Alan came up with the idea and he sent me the first chapter. His guy is Horkman. And I thought, “Who would be the opposite of that guy? That’s what I want my guy to be like.”

Zweibel: I listened to some of the audio book in my car. Every time it was Dave’s chapter, my dashboard started cursing at me. I didn’t know how to deal with it. My car didn’t know how to deal with it.

Barry: I’m hoping my children never hear this book.

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